September 21, 2012
Here is what I think of Romney’s remarks about the 47% of Americans that he implied were irresponsible and would not respond to his rhetoric or vote for him for that reason.
First, I always love it when people who can afford to pay $50,000 for lunch play the victim. It is so convincing, isn’t it? Life sure is tough on these people and easy on those who receive some kind of financial aid or assistance from the government, such as people on social security or Medicare like myself.
Second, Romney’s rhetoric illustrates one of the problems with a national government, viz., that it leads rather easily to attempts to demonize human beings who share certain characteristics or who seem especially dangerous. This thought occurred to me today as I was driving to Wal-Mart and passed an apartment building where the apartments look to be rather small and people had their laundry out drying. In other words, it was not an upscale place and I thought, “Well, some people just trying to get by.”
See, at the local level, that is what some of Romney’s 47% look like, people just trying to get by, just trying to make a life for themselves as best they can. But at the national level, they can be spoken about as if they were freeloaders, as if they are irresponsible, lazy, no good moochers. Why is this? Because from the national viewpoint what people see are mere abstractions. From the national level, details fade from view and it is possible to paint pictures of people that have little or no relationship to what I like to call “real reality.”
One example: My father worked for the Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C., writing regulations for the shipment of hazardous materials. Such materials are everywhere and one owner of a small business took exception to some of these regulations, arguing that they would ruin him and his business. He even wrote a letter threatening to commit suicide. My father and his cohorts decided that they had better call the local police department where the man lived and let them know, just in case. The response from the locals: “Oh, Mr. Schultz, don’t worry. He threatens to commit suicide over something or other about once a month.” You see, from a national perspective, this man looked threatening. But from the local perspective, he looked like what he was, a harmless guy who was a threat to no one, not even himself.